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A former Intel employee who quit to work for AMD has been indicted in trade secrets theft

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Intel employee whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has accused of stealing trade secrets from the company.

Biswamohan Pani, 33, allegedly was found with more than 100 pages of Intel documents, with 13 "top secret" file also discovered inside his residence.  Intel put more than $1 billion of research and development money into the documents Pani stole, which includes future CPU designs.

"The indictment was not a surprise," said Bradford Bailey, Pani's attorney.  "We knew it was coming.  We will enter a plea of not guilty when an arraignment date is set, and he will vigorously contest the charges because he is innocent."

Pani submitted his resignation at Intel in May 2008, and planned on working until June 11, but began working for Advanced Micro Devices on June 2.  When he started his job at AMD, he still had an Intel laptop and access to the internal Intel network.

During a search of his home in early July, the FBI found eight different documents that were classified as "secret," "top secret" and "confidential."  AMD did not request he steal the information or knew anything about his actions, the federal government believes.

"AMD has not been accused of wrongdoing, and the FBI has stated that there is no evidence that AMD had any involvement in or awareness of Mr. Pani's alleged actions," AMD said in a statement published by the Associated Press.

According to Pani, he took the files to help his wife work on a project, who is currently employed by Intel.  Intel quickly pointed out the files would have served no use for his wife.

Pani now faces four counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of trade secrets.  He faces up to 10 years on the single count of theft of trade secrets and up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud.



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Let me get this straight...
By dflynchimp on 11/6/2008 7:35:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"The indictment was not a surprise,"


And the attorney claims innocense for his client? Pardon my planet, but if you were innocent why would be expect your former company to levy a suit at you? Intel hardly does anything frivolously (for frivolous, see: Jack Thompson).

In any case, even if he "accidentally" kept some of Intell's trade secrets, it should've been common sense that if you were leaving your old company, you don't try to take anything away from it and should turn over any old files/documents to prevent suspicion.




RE: Let me get this straight...
By jjmcubed on 11/6/2008 7:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
why would be expect your former company to levy a suit at you?


A Federal grand jury indicted him of these charges, not Intel. Also, since they searched his home in July, there was likely communication between the feds and his lawyer/him. Just my guess on the last part.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By Adonlude on 11/6/2008 8:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In any case, even if he "accidentally" kept some of Intell's trade secrets, it should've been common sense that if you were leaving your old company, you don't try to take anything away from it and should turn over any old files/documents to prevent suspicion.

There are tons of documents I would want to keep from my current company if I ever left. All my work, schematics, simulations, it all contains the knowledge I have gained since working here. Its like keeping your past tests and homework to study from when you were in school. No ill intent there.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By Regs on 11/6/2008 10:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know right now. I have too much sympathy for AMD right now I would make a horrible juror.

"So Mr.X you stole a milk bone from a 5,000 pound bear and gave it to a puppy dog? How dare you!"


RE: Let me get this straight...
By icanhascpu on 11/6/2008 11:41:03 PM , Rating: 1
Horrible juror?

I think 'commi' would fit you better.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By wud03 on 11/6/2008 11:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
LOL.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By Bryf50 on 11/6/2008 11:34:32 PM , Rating: 2
But the company was paying you to draw those schematics, and do those simulations. Wouldn't that make them the property of the company and not yours.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By cete on 11/7/2008 4:02:12 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree with you.

Your experience is what remains inside your head.
All documents you've ever produced while being hired to do so are the property of your employer, who paid you to make them.
My contracts with every company I've worked for make this issue crystal clear, and I never feel the need to take home any of my productions.
If I ever need, I can reproduce the work anyway, or even make it better.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By cunning plan on 11/7/2008 4:36:23 AM , Rating: 3
Theres a grey area here though dependant on profession.

Look at designers and the creative industry, you would be stupid not to build a portfolio of previous work. This requires taking the ideas you have done for say 'Adidas' and showing it to 'Nike' when pitching for a job or a breif.

However, I think the line is drawn at sensitive company information such as prototype products and figures etc. It is obvious that your present employer will not want that information to leave the building, let alone end up with a competitor.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By Solandri on 11/7/2008 7:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
The creative industry is based on a concept called work for hire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_for_hire

In exchange for wages (or commission), copyright and ownership of your creative work belongs to the hiring person/company, not you the creator. If Adidas declined to let you include in your portfolio the work you did for them, then you would have no right to show it to Nike.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By tmouse on 11/7/2008 7:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
Your absolutely correct in the work for hire concept in principle but in practice portfolios are an exclusion. The idea is certainly theirs and you cannot make money directly off the concept (i.e. apply the exact same marketing visuals in your new project), however any part that is publically published such as the ad; you most certainly can show the copy and take credit for it. Its moot since no company would ever ban someone from using a publically published work for hire as part of their portfolio this would effectively limit your ability to gain future employment. Although many companies have clauses that, in theory, could be used to do this; even in California courts have almost always struck down these clauses when challenged). Now they could not use it in a public exhibition for profit.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By ShaolinSoccer on 11/7/2008 12:14:47 AM , Rating: 2
And what about AMD? Does this mean they should also be sued if they use any of that technology that this guy supposedly shared with them?


RE: Let me get this straight...
By Aloonatic on 11/7/2008 5:15:37 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure how many people here follow Formula 1 but this seems to be similar to last season's Ferrari/MacLaren SpyGate nonsense.

Although in that case the ex-Ferrari employee went around touting the information to a couple of teams (Honda and MacLaren) and in the end I think some drawings and technical information were found on MacLaren's computers/network when they were searched, but most of the documents were at Stepney's (the ex-Ferrari Employee's) home.

In the end it was pretty difficult for anyone to prove that said information was used and MacLaren claimed that no-one looked at the information so they were fined by the sports governing body (and a few other sport specific things like showing the 2008 car didn't have a prancing horse on the front) but nothing happened in the courts.

They guy who walked out the door with the information on the other hand is in a little more trouble.

It seems that in these cases the individual is taking a massive risk and the corporation in receipt of the information can walk away without getting burned too badly as it's hard to prove that they used the information or solicited it in the first place.


RE: Let me get this straight...
By afkrotch on 11/7/2008 5:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
Need to prove that they used the information to create a product. AMD could have reversed engineered a C2D and created processors based on it, but patent infringement would have hit them.


"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson











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